Is Constipation Affecting Your Quality of Life?

The definition of constipation includes 'bowel movements that are infrequent and difficult to pass, straining while passing stools, and the feeling of incomplete bowel movements.'

Although many traditional medical professionals think that having anywhere from one bowel movement per day to several per week is 'normal', most alternative health practitioners feel that optimally a person should be eliminating after every meal. This may seem like a lot to some people but when you think of how much fecal matter is sitting in your colon if you aren't going after each meal, it makes sense. The longer waste is allowed to stay in your system the more likely you are to experience toxin related problems such as parasites, Leaky Gut, Candida, and other health disorders.

As I've mentioned many times throughout this website, we believe that 'All Disease Starts In the Colon!

What causes It?

There are many factors that influence bowel health and contribute to constipation. These include:

1) Lack of fiber in your diet-

Fiber comes from fruits, vegetables and grains. It helps to soften and form stools, to scrape the colon clean keeping bowel movements moving along nicely and keeping you regular. It also helps to absorb and flush out toxins. Countries that eat a high fiber diet show low rates of colon related diseases such as colon cancer. We should be eating 20 to 35 grams of fiber daily but studies show that North Americans eat only 5 to 14 grams per day.

The North American diet is typically low in fiber as we choose fast foods, processed foods, and more refined carbohydrates. We don't take the time to incorporate fresh fruits and veggies and whole grain foods, preferring to stick to quick and easy meals. As people get older and less active they become more constipated as they choose prepackaged and easy to prepare meals lacking in fiber and nutrients.

2) Lack of fluids-

Optimally we should be drinking purified water,half of our weight in ounces, on a daily basis. Even more if we consume caffeinated or alcoholic beverages which are very dehydrating. Unfortunately, many people do not even drink half of that and tend to focus on sugary pops and juices, coffee and tea. Liquids add bulk to stools making bowel movements softer and easier to evacuate.

3) A lack of physical activity-

Doctors are unsure why but it appears that a lack of activity contributes to constipation. This is noted in the elderly and individuals who have been hospitalized and lack in mobility.

4) Medication-

Many prescription meds are found to be constipating including painkillers with narcotics, iron supplements, diuretics, antacids, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants. Others are blood pressure medications, antiparkinson drugs, and antispasmodics.

5) Ignoring the urge to defecate-

If you continually ignore nature's call, eventually your colon will be trained to stay in a comatose state and will not initiate peristalsis. 'Peristalsis' is the wavelike muscular contraction in the large intestine needed to move fecal matter through the colon and out of the body. Many people prefer not to use toilets outside of their homes therefore they wait and wait and wait until the urge goes away. Some people get too busy and ignore the urge. Children get engrossed in play and do not take the time to use the toilet when they feel they need to go.

6) Changes in life routines-

When diet and daily routines are changed or disrupted it can wreak havoc on your digestive system. Many people find that they can't eliminate regularly when traveling i.e sitting on a plane for many hours or changing their diet in a new place or culture. Pregnant women also experience changes to their bowel movements because of the uterus pressing on the intestine and the hormonal changes taking place in their bodies.

7) Laxatives-

Some people use laxatives to address their constipation instead of addressing the underlying issues i.e diet, lifestyle, etc. Over time the body gets to rely on the laxatives that are actually damaging the intestinal walls. Eventually you need to increase the dosage and finally the colon stops working on its own causing more constipation. Laxatives are habit forming and we do not recommend using them for any length of time. A better choice would be herbal supplements with casgara sagrada or triphala.

8) Certain medical conditions-

Some neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis can damage the nerve supply to the colon and rectum and cause constipation. People with diabetes show similar damage to the autonomic nerves. Colon function may also be affected in individuals with reduced cognitive functioning or developmental disabilities.

Minor problems such as a tear in the lining of the anal canal can result in constipation because you are unknowingly trying not to answer nature's call due to the associated pain. There are also disorders in which there is a developmental or acquired abnormality of the nerves within the bowel wall; examples include congenital ‘megacolon’ and infection with the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas' disease.

Health issues related to constipation

You may not know it but constipation could be causing you a host of other health problems. According to Dr.Brenda Watson, "When bowel transit time is slow, waste is not promptly eliminated from the body. It will consequently decay or ferment, producing poisonous chemicals. As toxins are reabsorbed into the body the risk of developing colon diseases and other health problems increases." 'Gut solutions', Watson, B., Renew Life Press and Information Services, 2003.



Constipation is connected to a variety of health issues including:

- Candida

- Fatigue

- Migraines and headaches

- Leaky Gut Syndrome

- Fibromyalgia

- Appendicitis

- Bowel cancer

- Depression

- Diverticulitis

- Hemorrhoids

- Malabsorption syndrome

- Obesity

- Varicose veins

- Bad breath and body odor



How can colonics resolve poor bowel function

Colon Hydrotherapy assists in a number of ways. First off it helps 'to soak' or hydrate a presumably very dry colon. This helps to get the old dry fecal moving again and makes elimination easier. Secondly, colonics help to encourage peristalsis. 'Peristalsis' is the wavelike muscular constractions in the large intestine that push waste toward the anal canal and out of the body. Thirdly, Colonics help to exercise or retrain a lazy or comatose bowel that has stopped moving on its own for whatever reason; usually laxative abuse, poor diet lacking in fiber and fluids, etc.




Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constipation

http://www.answers.com/topic/constipation

http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/constipation/

'Gut Solutions', Watson, Brenda, 2003

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Image: graur codrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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